The first things that come to mind right after hearing “modest fashion” are usually words like stuffy, frumpy, and boring. These adjectives couldn’t be any more off base.
Fashion is all about experimentation, and modest fashion does not differ from any other popular subculture that’s gaining momentum right now.
What is Modest Fashion?
Modest fashion is simply clothes that cover much of the body.
Over the last couple of years, the fashion industry has taken great initiative with representation. From store collections to runway looks, brands have embraced more loose-fitting clothing, covered up shapes, and eclectic ways to layer outfits and accessories.
Modest dressing is as simple as picking out the staples of your very own closet, adding key items to build a wardrobe, and a splash of your personal style. But it is also an art that you can learn with the correct tools and direction.
Designer, Saleha Bagas says ” it’s to complement the diverse lifestyles of all types of women, no matter their faith or culture, who want to implement modesty into their dress code.”
Whether your moderate fashion preference is for religious reasons, cultural traditions, or a personal choice, we’ve put together the ultimate modest dressing guide. This how-to bible will cut down your ‘standing-in-front-of-your-wardrobe-every-morning’ time in half while having you looking fabulous and feeling very comfortable.
Modest fashion might call for higher necklines and then some but there’s no need to sacrifice an inch of style, here are some tips on how to dress modestly:
The first half of every basic outfit. There is so much variety with tops and endless ways to style them all. When looking for tops keep the neckline in mind if you think this is an item you’d be wearing alone. If you are turtle necks are a great option, if not don’t fret.
Necklines on your tops should be 4 inches from your collarbone, which is about your palm’s width. Don’t be afraid of prints, stripes, and patterns. They add a pop of color and fun to otherwise simple outfits. Basic tank tops can seem intimidating but don’t let the bare arms hinder you, wear it on top of long sleeve tees and oversized button down for a chic look.
You need not go baggy and unflattering to achieve a modest look with your pants. Denim, trousers, or whichever you prefer are made in relaxed silhouettes. When looking for bottoms try out the mom high waist styles, flared ankles, different color wash denim, and soft knit pants.
Not only will these look great but they’re very versatile, from church to work to a dinner, you can dress them up or down to fit the occasion.
Skirts have always been synonymous with Christian apparel. Those days of 50s style circle skirts that can only be worn for important occasions are no more. Skirt styles are in abundance, slip skirts that fall right at the ankles, denim skirts that hit after the knee, maxi skirts are all fantastic options for modest fashion lovers.
For casual outfits, you can wear these skirts with plain-colored t-shirts and layered with a pretty cardigan, and for more important events you can transition the outfit with some cute heels and accessorizing.
Midi and maxi dresses are a modest wardrobe staple and they’re not going anywhere, anytime soon. These dresses don’t stick too much to the body and can still keep you cool in the summer’s heat. You can pair them with sneakers for a fun tomboy look, or sandals for your brunch dates.
Long slip maxi dresses are also very popular right now; you can pair them with long or short sleeve tees underneath for a modest dress option.
Blazers and cardigans are at the top of the coverup list, but scarves and shawls are superb alternatives for a less structured look. Throw any of these on when you need an extra layer of coverage without heavy jackets or knitwear.
Coverups are very versatile and there’s one to suit every style. Making sure your coverups add a pop of color and print to an outfit is a great way to stand out from the crowd.
Fast fashion has pushed the rise of matching sets and we’ve seen the execution become better and better. Matching silk button-downs and pants are free and stylish. Looking for a matching set for the cooler seasons? Knitted matching sets give a cozy and classy vibe.
Monochrome looks are perfect for those days. You don’t want to do any extra searching or pairing up. No one will know how little effort you put into your outfit and better yet since they’re separate pieces, you can wear it with other tops or bottoms.
Everyone knows an outfit isn’t an outfit if you don’t accessorize. Well, if you didn’t, now you do. Accessories such as bags, jewelry, watches, sunglasses, and more can make or break an outfit. Want to elevate a plain t-shirt and trousers look?
Pair it with a cross-shoulder purse for a stylish look. You can dress this same outfit down with a tote. Don’t let the simpleness of an outfit discourage you, make it stand out with your accessories.
They say if you want to know a lot about someone you should look at the shoes they’re wearing. One of the best ways to show your personality in an outfit is through your footwear.
Wear those floral boots you bought two years ago but have been too nervous to try on. If you’re more of a sneaker person, don’t let your modest dressing hinder that either. The sneaker industry is huge and open for anyone of any background. Keep it fun and light. Sandals make any summer outfit look put together and within the times, as well as a cute mule from your favorite designer. This is a great part to experiment with your style.
Modest women want to enjoy the beach or swimming pool too! Throw away the big overused T-shirts and long skirt-shorts and substitute them for a sleek, classy swim dress. They make these dresses of nylon, lycra, and spandex, which are very comfortable and come in various colors ad patterns.
Not a fan of dresses? Matching swim sets offer a comfortable look. Better yet, mix and match swim skirts and tops as you’d like. For largest coverage and a hint of personality, add swim leggings of your favorite color.
There is a vast variety of options available; short sleeves, quarter sleeves, long skirts, leggings, and one-pieces.
The Perfect Fit
As mentioned before modesty doesn’t mean a bigger fit, those tend to be unflattering. Choosing the right fit is a personal decision about your body, but some tips for achieving the right fit include:
- Clinch the waist for oversize clothing
- Wear tailored tops with looser bottoms or vice versa for balance
- Dresses and Knee-length boots give the illusion of height
Where to Shop
So where do you shop for modest fashion? The answer is everywhere. Modest clothing has moved from being exclusive to accommodating and mainstream. From luxury and runway to fast fashion, there are many options. Designers and retailers are listening and catering to the people.
Knowing how to layer and style the pieces you have in your closet is a great way to start. There’s no reason to blow thousands on a new wardrobe when you can work with what you’ve got.
How to Dress Modestly
Modest fashion can mean many things to many people. If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that this industry is not going anywhere. It’s getting bigger and better. Vogue calls the modest fashion industry a multi-billion dollar industry. And they were right. With an influx of modest influencers showing us what modesty means to them, we can see how modesty plays into their lifestyle.
After years of calling for representation and being written off, modest fashion has taken the forefront in the fashion industry. Modesty is the perfect way to show sophistication, balance, and comfort without losing an inch of style.
How to dress modestly might seem like a bore to others but for fashion lovers its an engaging challenge that deserves more attention. To read more about growing fashion trends, visit our blog.